There are two things we have learned so far in the World Series:
2) The Phillies have no idea how to pitch to this half-man, half-beast.
Rodriguez's 10 plate appearances in the last two games both Yankee wins have resulted in the following: HBP, home run, line out, HBP, walk, HBP, fly out, fly out, strike-out, game-winning double.
Clearly the Phillies need help. Lucky for them I know baseball. And I also know centaurs. So here are my:
Keys to Pitching to CentauRod
1. Exploit his massive strike zone. The strike zone in baseball is from the batter's knees up to the letters across the front of his jersey. On a centaur, that's about six to seven feet. Even a mythical being can't protect an area that big at the plate.
2. Distract him. In Greek mythology, centaurs are depicted as wild creatures enslaved to their unbridled passions. CentauRod is no different. The Phillies and their fans must distract him at the plate with athletic she-males, feed bags full of steroids, and mirrors.
3. Refer to the rule book. This may seem like a cheap way to win, but you're not the team putting a centaur in the lineup. First off, there has to be some sort of uniform violation with CentauRod. Second, weapons such as a bow-and-arrow are not allowed on the field during play. And, third, there's no way CentauRod is keeping all four of his legs in the batter's box. It's impossible.
4. Destroy his confidence in the field. If you can mess CentauRod up on the field, he'll lose some confidence at the plate. That's why the Phillies need to bunt down the third base line at him over and over and over. It's really hard for centaurs to bend down with their horse knees to pick up the ball. Of course, CentauRod may just pick the ball up with a spear. But then you just go back to the rule book violation.
5. If you're going to hit him, hit him in the right place. CentauRod has been hit with pitches three times in the last two games. That's not a problem. The problem is that the Phillies keep hitting him in the upper body. They need to hit him in the legs. Leg injuries are often fatal for horses. Centaurs are no different. A hard fastball just above the hoof should result in CentauRod getting slaughtered like Barbaro. Then who are the Yankees going to be stuck playing at third Jerry Hairston, Jr.? Ha! He's no centaur. He's a nymph. Advantage: Phillies.
I am a baseball player. But if there is one thing the game has taught me, it's not a lesson about competition or sportsmanship or being a man or anything like that.
It's that you might have to fight an old person at a moment's notice.
Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS did I go to the park that day expecting to fight Don Zimmer? Not really. But then one thing led to another and I had to throw that 72-year-old man to the ground.
Live and learn.
Now I'm ready to kick an old person's ass at any moment. And you can be, too.
FOX is broadcasting the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
Here is FOX analyst Howie Long with his keys to the series.
"Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!" shrieked Phillies second baseman Chase Utley upon learning his team would meet the Yankees this week in the World Series. "The Yankees are, like, so famous. I see them on TV all the time. I'm so nervous. Aaaaah!"
As the American League Championship Series played itself out, the Phillies to a man said they didn't have a preference what team advanced. But now that the Yankees knocked off the Angels, the team is letting their true wishes known.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard says he is the most nervous of anyone on the team.
"I play at first," he said. "That means every time they get on base, I'll have to make small talk with them. What do I say? What do you say to someone as famous as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher? Is it okay if I ask for their autograph? I hope I don't throw up."
The Phillies met the Yankees for a three-game interleague series during the regular season, but they say this is different.
"I'm not going to lie, that was one of the coolest experiences of my life, seeing all those guys up close," said Phillie starter Cole Hamels. "But this is bigger. All of their stars are going to be playing every game against us! On the same field! I'll be snapping pictures the whole time I'm on the mound. Ohmigod what should I wear? My uniform, you think? Isn't that too casual?"
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says he will try to do his best to put his team in position to meet their goals.
"It's my job to get these guys prepared to meet the Yankees and not look stupid," he said. "That's all we're looking for in this series. They don't want to do or say anything around someone like Derek Jeter or Robinson Cano that they'll kick themselves over forever. Also, if there's any way I could meet Joe Girardi I mean, wow. What an honor. That guy has accomplished so much in this game. He's a personal hero."
Despite the Phillies reverence for the great Yankees, Yankee captain Derek Jeter says his team will have to play well to win.
"They are the defending champs and they have rolled through the postseason so far," said Jeter. "We need to play our best to win. They're a great team."
"Ohmigod Derek Jeter said that about us?" said Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth. "That just seals it. He is, like, the greatest, most coolest guy ever. I'm definitely getting his autograph."